Monday, June 7, 2010

How does the structure of fanzines affect content?

A selection of zines (University of Oregon)

Fanzines are nonprofessional and nonofficial publications produced by fans and circulated amongst fans (Duncombe, 1997). Originally they were printed and distributed for free or a minimal charge to cover postage, however with the increase in accessibility and popularity of the internet, many fanzines are available online in the form of webzines. Although fanzines are not necessarily influenced by science fiction/fantasy texts, this is where the idea originated and the focus of this investigation is on science fiction fan texts.

Like fanfiction, zines allow marginalised communities the opportunity to express themselves and connect through their common fandom. Topics are covered which are relatively untouched by mainstream media (Duncombe 1997), thereby giving a voice to fans so that they can openly express their displeasure and delight. Generally zines are composed of various submissions by readers, resulting in a collaboration of a range of points of view on the same issue. The independent structure of zines allows fans the opportunity to celebrate their marginalisation. For some fans, their poaching is not just a hobby but a way of life in that it assists them in dealing with the dominant society by allowing them an escape in the form of a shared subculture. The independant production and distribution of zines also allows radical views to be expressed without the fear of retribution that commercial mainstream media publications experience.

Although zines, especially e-zines, are free and easy to access, their readership is generally very limited as the content is written for a specific fan audience. Zines are independent small-scale media and they may be marginalised by the mainstream, however their readers have particular expectations of their own. Somes zines are known for their entertaining content while others are expected to be weighted with debates and discussions. Science fiction fans are known for their letter writing and lobbying and will voice their distaste at the perceived lack of continuity in their favourite texts.

A host site of online fanzines

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